Osteoclast (OC) blockade has been successful in reducing tumor growth in bone in preclinical settings, but antiresorptive drugs, such as zoledronic acid (ZA), fail to improve the overall survival rate of patients with bone metastasis despite ameliorating skeletal complications. To address this unmet clinical need, we interrogated what other cells modulated tumor growth in bone in addition to OCs. Because myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC)—heterogeneous populations expressing CD11b, Ly6C, and Ly6G markers—originate in the bone marrow and promote tumor progression, we hypothesized that their accumulation hinders ZA antitumor effects. By using a murine model of bone metastasis insensitive to OC blockade, we assessed the antitumor effect of MDSC depletion using anti-Gr1 in mice bearing skeletal lung [Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC)], melanoma (B16-F10), and mammary (4T1) tumors. Differently from soft tissue tumors, anti-Gr1 did not reduce bone metastases and led to the paradoxical accumulation of bone marrow–resident CD11b+Ly6CintLy6Gint cells that differentiated into OCs when cultured in vitro. Anti-Gr1–mediated depletion of Ly6G+ granulocytic MDSCs combined with ZA-induced OC blockade reduced growth of established skeletal metastases compared with each agent alone. CD15+ granulocytic populations were increased in patients with breast cancer with progressive bone disease after antiresorptive treatment compared with those with stable bone disease. We provide evidence that antiresorptive therapies fail to reduce bone metastases in the presence of elevated granulocytic populations and that effective treatment of established skeletal metastases requires combinatorial depletion of granulocytes and OC blockade.

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